Finding affordable housing for a larger family is especially difficult. The average fair-market rent for a three-bedroom apartment in the Twin Cities metro area is $1,403.
Abdi, a bus driver with a wife and four children, would never be able to afford that. But he can afford to live at Creekside Commons, Beacon’s workforce housing.
Abdi, his wife Maryan are both immigrants from Somalia by way of Kenya. Each arrived more than a decade ago, learned English, graduated from high school, met and married here. They applied to live at Creekside Commons in 2009 when it opened, but at that time both worked and earned too much to qualify for a subsidized apartment. Their name went on a wait list and in the meantime they found an apartment in Minnetonka. Their oldest daughter was born, then a son and another daughter.
As their family grew, Maryan decided to stay home to raise their children, making Abdi the breadwinner. He earns about $17 an hour as a full-time school bus driver. One day in 2012, they got a call to say that an apartment at Creekside had opened up. They’d actually forgotten about the application they’d made three years before – but it was just the housing solution they needed.
Their three-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment is right for their family, which now includes a fourth child, Safi, almost 2 years old. Maida, the second youngest, attends the Montessori preschool at Mayflower Church just across the parking lot. Muneer and Mohamed are in first grade and kindergarten, respectively. Mohamed, the only boy, has his own room.
“I love this building,” said Maryan, citing the playground and volunteer homework helpers.
At Creekside the family is able to afford rent with enough left for other daily expenses such as groceries, clothing, transportation and school supplies. They love the environment and the neighborhood.
“It’s a nice community, a beautiful new building, with a good property manager. It’s safe,” said Abdi. “You don’t have to worry about anything.”
Photo credit: Anna Botz